On the door to my study are about a dozen magnets that the church made up years ago, with a picture of the church, along with contact information. They are basically business cards to stick on your refrigerator. They are on the door so that anyone who wants one, can pick one up and take it with them. They have been there so long, that I doubt many people notice them, but they do apparently catch the attention of a few!
Every so often, I will come into the church and find the magnets rearranged. Sometimes they say “Hi!” Sometimes they make a picture or a pattern. A cross is a common motif. I do not know if there is one person who plays with them regularly, or if it is different people who happen by and find themselves inspired.
This week, I came in to find a different arrangement. Instead of a pattern in the magnets themselves, they are holding to the door a paper butterfly. The butterfly is a common allegory of Jesus’ death and resurrection that has a long history. A caterpillar enters apparent death when it wraps itself in its chrysalis, but then, after a time, it emerges. What looked like the end is revealed as a new beginning, full of beauty and promise. What struck me this week, as we are in the midst of preparations for Easter, along with the coordination for moving worship services to the pavilion for the summer is that this butterfly appeared on the door and that I had nothing to do with it. It was a reminder that even as we rush about, even as we adjust and re-accommodate, whether we are planning for dinner with family, or staying home by ourselves and trying to help others understand why, Easter happens without any of our effort.
Easter is God’s work, given freely to each of us. We did not plan it. We did not schedule the burial or the rolling away of the stone. We did not unwind the cloth or roll up the fabric that had been around Jesus’ head. When Mary and the others arrived, God’s work had already been accomplished, so that what they had thought to be the end, was revealed to instead be a great and magnificent beginning! I pray that you are able to encounter this too, this week. In the midst of whatever work you are about, remember that God’s work is already done, even before you begin to think about it. New life is not something that you have to create, or schedule, or hammer together. It is the work of God, freely given to us. We may not even immediately understand it, but it is already prepared and accomplished, so that we can receive it, our new life, emerged from the tomb, radiant and beautiful in Jesus.